(CBS)–The Wizards and Bulls distaste for one-another has carried over from last post-season and apparently Paul Pierce was brought up to speed.
The Wizards defeated the Bulls 85-81 in a surprisingly heated preseason opener.
After a hard foul on Jimmy Butler in the opening minutes, Pierce and Bulls Center Joakim Noah had a bit of a scuffle. There was a lot of jawing and pushing but all that really happened was Pierce poked Noah in the forehead.
That was not the end of the scraping. In the third quarter, Jimmy Butler was the recipient of a Kevin Seraphin illegal screen that left the Bulls guard on his back. Seraphin stood over Butler, taunting him, resulting in more pushing and shoving.
All of this happened with Nene held out of the game to rest (you may remember him head-butting Butler in Game 3 of last year’s playoff series). DeJuan Blair may have been right about the Wizards being the Bad Boys of DC.
As for the game, it was typical preseason basketball. Guys still getting into shape, new teammates learning how to play together, end of the bench players getting big minutes; it was ugly. The bright spot for the Wizards was Glen Rice Jr., who continued his impressive play that made him MVP of the summer league. Rice had a game high 18 pts (12 in the fourth quarter). With Rice’s scoring ability and energy on defense, the second year wing will see quality minutes off the bench this year. The Wizards other young wing, Otto Porter, was not as good. Porter, who also had an impressive summer league, struggled shooting the ball (1-10) and looked indecisive. It’s just the first preseason game, but the Wizards need Porter to play himself into the rotation this season. Other Wizards newcomers Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair were solid. Humphries, however, cut his hand on the rim in the second quarter and needed sticthes. He will miss the next two games.
The big story of the night though was the return of Derrick Rose who has battled countless injuries and struggled to stay on the court the last few years. Rose struggled shooting the ball this summer for Team USA but looked great last night, showing he still has a lot of explosiveness left. The Bulls also welcomed Forward Pau Gasol who looked very excited to be playing for someone other than Mike D’Antoni. And finally, Bulls rookies Doug McDermot and Nikola Mirotic were impressive, especially Mirotic who scored 17 points in 22 minutes, delighting the sold-out United Center.